Johann Strauss II: Tritsch-Tractsch-Polka
Composed in 1858 after a succesful tour of Russia, Johann Strauss II’s Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka is one of his most beloved polkas. Full of high spirits, jaunty melodies and fluttering winds, this polka has it all. The polka was premiered in a concert in Vienna on 24th November 1858.
Tritsch-Tratsch in English means ‘Chit-Chat’. A type of gossiping that the Viennese people loved to engage in. Usually mindless chatter, a tritsch-tratsch refers to the social aspect of talking to somebody, the laughing, the story telling and more.
The polka is in A major and this is introduced from the opening A major shrills from the strings and winds. The peppy opening melody sings out as the triangle accentuates the off-beats. The conversation that unravels between the orchestra is apparent as the upper strings and wind fly above the bold brass and lower string lines.
The comical jaunty melody is decorated with trills and other shimmering embellishments. Strauss takes this polka rather quickly, which gives it a cheeky character, something often found in his polkas.
The different variations of the melody represent the conversation moving around the orchestra. Everybody has their own variation and story to tell, and this is masterfully orchestrated by Strauss. Flying countermelodies, quick scalic swishes and effective percussion add to the jollity of the chit-chat happening between the instruments.
After a quick and comedic dialogue between the different sections of the orchestra, Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka comes to a rousing finish. Only around 2.5 minutes in duration, Strauss is able to fit in a lot of conversation into this twee polka.
Full of musical gossip, Johann Strauss II’s Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka is one of the composer’s most-performed polkas. Short in duration and quick in tempo, this whirlwind of a chat will get the toes tapping!
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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